UROC Speaker Series
The UROC Speaker Series is an hour long discussion with invited guests from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who will share their experiences navigating the academic terrain in higher education. They will be discussing their path from undergraduate research to where they are now and discuss any adversities they may have traversed across along the way.
Check MyRaft for registration info.
List of Speakers Fall 2021
Dr. Dolores D. Mena - Sept 16
Dr. Selenne Bañuelos - Feb 4
Selenne Bañuelos is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at California State University Channel Islands. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara in 2007 and her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2013. She was a founding member of the first SACNAS chapter at USC. Dr. Bañuelos is a 2014 SACNAS Leadership Institute Fellow, a 2015 Project NExT, New Experiences in Teaching, fellow and a 2020 MAA Henry L. Alder Award recipient. Her research interests lie in the fields of differential and difference equations and dynamical systems and its applications to mathematical biology. Her recent projects have been in epidemiology, the dynamics of sleep, and phage treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Dr. Bañuelos is committed to increasing the access to higher education in STEM fields for women and historically underrepresented minorities. Dr. Bañuelos is a regular SACNAS annual conference participant, judge, and session organizer. She is also a co-advisor for the SACNAS at CI student chapter. Dr. Bañuelos is a mentor for the national Math Alliance, whose goal is “to increase the number of doctoral degrees in the mathematical sciences among groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in those fields.” She is also a mentor and advisor in the CSU Alliance Pump Program.
Dr. Bañuelos was born to Mexican immigrants and raised in the under-served community of Boyle Heights, east of downtown Los Angeles. She considers herself fortunate for the support of her family and the help of mentors and advocates that noticed her and helped her navigate the world of research, academia, and all of its opportunities. Her academic trajectory while an undergraduate student began when two faculty members at UCSB, Dr. Millett and Dr. Stopple, encouraged her to apply and attend the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. There she learned about REUs and applied to several to attend the following summer. She then participated in the 2006 Summer Math Institute at Cornell. This rigorous program helped Dr. Bañuelos realize that she had the necessary tenacity to pursue a graduate degree in Mathematics. In her “spare time” Dr. Bañuelos likes to hike and camp with her family, which includes her two small children. She also enjoys dancing a variety of Street Latin dances.
Dr. Antonio Duran - April 1
Antonio Duran (he/him) is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University in the Administration of Higher Education program. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Antonio had the opportunity to attend New York University for his undergraduate institution thanks to a first-generation college student scholars program (AnBryce Scholars). There, he majored in English and American Literature. From his time at NYU, he then attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, receiving his master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. It was during his time at Miami University that he found his love for engaging in research about minoritized individuals in postsecondary education. He pursued this passion for research by obtaining his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the Ohio State University. Now, his research involves understanding how historical and contemporary legacies of oppression (e.g., racism, heterosexism, and trans oppression) influence college student development, experiences, and success.
Dr. Jenny Brown - May 6
Dr. Jenny M. Brown is a postdoctoral fellow at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Jenny received a BS in Biology with a minor in Statistics from CSUMB in 2015 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease from the University of Washington in 2020.
Jenny found her passion for diabetes research during a summer position at the University of Toledo with Dr. Sonia Najjar as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) scholars’ program. Entering graduate school, she narrowed down her research focus to the role of the brain in the control of glucose homeostasis. Her thesis research identified the brain area and the protein signaling pathway responsible for the sustained diabetes remission following a single injection of fibroblast growth factor 1 into the brain of animal models with type 2 diabetes. During her Ph.D., Jenny’s research was selected three times for an oral presentation at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. She co-authored eight manuscripts and was funded by the Diabetes Research Center Samuel and Althea Stroum Endowed Graduate Fellowship and the Cardiovascular Pathology Training Grant.
Transformed by her research findings in graduate school, her goal is to generate scientific knowledge that can accelerate the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Conducting her postdoctoral research with Dr. Tune Pers, Jenny uses single-cell genomics, human genome-wide association studies data, and in vivo animal models to understand the molecular processes driving type 2 diabetes susceptibility in humans.
Dr. Ruby Carrillo - September 3
L. Ruby Carrillo is a first generation Latina who grew up in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University (MSU). At CSUN, her interest in scientific research developed while working in a microbiology lab funded by the MBRS-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program. Participating in LSAMP (Louis Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation) Nexus program and SROP (Summer Research Opportunity Program) further broadened her research experience and ultimately introduced her to opportunities at MSU. As a graduate student at MSU, she worked in a photosynthesis laboratory funded by the US Department of Energy, studying the mechanisms involved in regulating adenylate misbalance (i.e. ATP) and redox homeostasis in chloroplast by applying bioenergetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and photosynthetic spectroscopy. After earning her PhD, she led a laboratory at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Postdoctoral Research Associate studying similar bioenergetic pathways albeit in opportunistic pathogens instead of plants. Research at several universities on energy production in multiple organisms yielded an opportunity to work in biocatalysis and biofuel development at the largest energy company in the country, ExxonMobil, where she serves in her current role as a Senior Researcher at the Corporate Strategic Research Laboratory
Dr. Anne Charity-Hudley - October 1
Anne Harper Charity Hudley is the North Hall Endowed Chair in the Linguistics of African America and Director of Undergraduate Research for Office of Undergraduate Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is also Faculty in Residence for the Santa Catalina Residences and San Joaquín Villages and the Faculty Fellow for the Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning (CITRAL) at UC Santa Barbara.
Anne was previously the Class of 1952 Associate Professor of Education, English, Linguistics, Africana Studies and the inaugural William and Mary Professor of Community Studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She directed the William and Mary Scholars Program and was the co-director, with Cheryl Dickter, of the William and Mary Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience. Her research and publications address the relationship between language variation and Pre K-16 educational practices and policies and high impact practices for underrepresented students in higher education.
Her third book The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research is co-authored with Cheryl Dicker and Hannah Franz and published by Teachers College Press. Visit her website for more information.
See CSUMB Lutrinae article on event.
Dr. Karina Gutiérrez - November 5
Dr. Karina Gutiérrez is an Assistant Professor of Multicultural Theatre and Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Santa Clara University. Her work concentrates on the intersection of politics and performance, more specifically how digital interventions, institutionalization efforts, and historical narrative affect the development and sustainability of social and politically engaged performance companies and collectives in the Americas. She is a recent Doctoral graduate of Stanford University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, where she served as the inaugural Artistic Director of The Nitery Experimental Theatre (NEXT), student Director, and Undergraduate Honor Thesis Mentor. Dr. Gutiérrez additionally served as a Scholar-in-Residence at El Centro Chicano y Latino, a Co-Graduate Coordinator at the Woman’s Community Center, and a Diversifying Academia, and a Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow. Upon graduation, Dr Gutiérrez was awarded the Carl Webber Prize for integration of Creative Practice and Scholarly Research.
Gutiérrez cannon of work centers on contemporary Chicanx and US Latinx theatre. She has published reviews in leading theatre journals such as Theatre Survey and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Her forthcoming article on the legacy of El Teatro Campesino (The Farmworker’s Theatre) is due later this year in the Latino Literature Encyclopedia for Students.
In addition to her scholarship, Dr. Gutiérrez is a Bay Area-based Actor, Director, and Dramaturf. Karina is an advocate for Latinx/Chicanx representation in the arts and is a co-founded of BALTAN, the Bay Area Latino Theatre Alliance Network.
Dr. Justin Cummings - December 3
Justin Cummings, originally a Chicago native, graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelors of Science in Biology in 2006. In fall of 2007, Justin moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz for a PhD focused on understanding how trees used for tropical forest restoration inhibited the regeneration of invasive grasses in Panama. After receiving his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and a designated emphasis in Environmental Studies in 2013, Justin moved to Miami, FL to pursue a post-doc in Environmental Biophysics at Florida International University, where his work focused on understanding how changes in environmental factors influenced the uptake and release of CO2 across seasons in the Florida Everglades. In 2015, Justin moved back to Santa Cruz, CA where he has helped co-create and served as the director of the UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, whose mission is to prepare the next generation of diverse conservation leaders. In 2018, Justin decided to run for local office was the highest vote recipient in the election for City Council, and in 2020 was appointed to be Mayor for the city of Santa Cruz. In March of 2020 Justin stepped down as the Director of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, and now, in addition to being Mayor, works part time as an environmental sensor technician and drone operator for the UC Natural Reserve System's California Heartbeat Initiative.